Saturday, February 08, 2014

2014 Lexington Legends Preview: Part Three

An ongoing look at Royals prospects likely to make up the 2014 Legends roster

FEB 8th, 2014-Continuing on with a look at prospective players for our Lexington Legends in 2014, there are a lot of possibilities to consider.

One caveat concerning the Legends, this year: besides the young rookie-league prospects from the three rookie teams in Kansas City's organization, there are also a number of players who could likely be returning to Lexington for at least the first part of the season. There are a number of reasons for this (further experience in Class A needed, player too young to advance to High-A at this time, need to work on specific skills before facing higher-level players, etc.), but they are the sorts of reasons used to consider in the handling of players at all levels.

For the purposes of this post, I'm looking only at rookie-league players. Here's a look at four more players who could be hitting the Sally this year (or returning to the league for an encore):


Bats: R Throws: R
Ht: 6'1” Wt: 175
Born: July 7th, 1993 in Los Angeles, California
School: Centennial HS (Compton, CA)
Drafted: by the Texas Rangers in the 4th round of the 2011 MLB Draft

Signed out of high school for $200,000 by the Rangers in 2011, Desmond Henry was acquired in the trade that sent Tommy Hottovy to the Rangers. Henry has outstanding speed (6.47 in the 60 at the 2010 Area Code Games, an easy 80 on the scouting scale), excellent range in the outfield, and his arm could grade out as 'plus' at his peak. Simply put, he's one to watch. Remember Terrance Gore, last year? Very similar, only Gore is likely stronger than Henry (even given the size difference). Henry swiped 20 bags with Burlington in the Appalachian League in 2013, batting .244 in 48 games. He was suspended in 2012 after an arrest on a charge of possession of alcohol by a minor, but it seems that this was an isolated incident. He may not ever produce much in the way of power (4 doubles, 2 HR in 2013), but players who are this fast are rarely required to do so. Keep an eye out for him.

Bats: B Throws: R
Ht: 5'10” Wt: 155
Born: January 22nd, 1993 in Moncion, Santiago Rodriguez, Dominican Republic
Drafted: NDFA in 2009 by the Kansas City Royals

Torres spent 26 games here with the Legends last season, and is known to have line-drive skills with the bat and solid pitch recognition. He has steady defensive skills, though his previous numbers definitely seem to refute that assessment (13 errors in 42 games at short with Burlington). I see him more as a second baseman than as a shortstop, and that certainly doesn't affect the outlook on him as a prospect. Torres has good speed on the bases, hits his share of doubles (41 in 233 career games), and walks nearly as much as he strikes out. Mind you, he rarely strikes out; 116 Ks in 965 career PA is pretty darn good. He's pretty much a lock to start the year in Lexington, and I expect him to contribute in a significant way to the Legends.

Bats: R Throws: R
Ht: 6'2” Wt: 170
Born: February 9th, 1994 in Cartagena, Columbia
Drafted: NDFA by the Kansas City Royals in 2011

Cano has a lot of projection left, possesses above-average speed and solid bat control, and has a solid-average arm from the OF. He definitely projects better as a left-fielder than if he were in right, as he doesn't have the sort of arm strength you'd ideally like to have in RF. He's got plenty of time to develop (he turns 20 tomorrow), and as he adds a bit of size he could become a gap-to-gap guy with a lot of doubles. Can might very well be an 'under-the-radar' type of prospect.

Bats: L Throws: R
Ht: 6'3” Wt: 225
Born: December 29th, 1992 in Lee's Summit, Missouri
School: Metropolitan Community College-Longview (Kansas City, MO)
Drafted: by the Kansas City Royals in the 12th round of the 2013 MLB Draft

Dulin has prototypical size for a 1st baseman, but his 6 triples and 5 steals in 46 games in the Arizona League last year are surprising. He's a powerfully-built hitter who manages to play an agile 1st base, with an above-average arm for first. He can turn on the ball very well and has easy plus power for his position. Dulin has some experience in the OF, but as he moves up the chain he's likely to play the majority of his games at the first sack. The best part, as far as I'm concerned, is that he's only 21 years old. Thus, he has some time to move up the chain and the 1st base prospects ahead of him might be thinned out a bit before KC has to make a decision on him. I like his future, but with hitters this big there's concern over injury risk. Playing full-season ball will tell us a lot more about how well he'll adjust to the pro circuit.

And the Preview goes on and on...Part Four coming soon, with a look at pitchers after that. Also, will be happy to write posts by request. If you have a favorite player you'd like to read about in more detail, drop me a line and I'll make it happen. 

Sunday, February 02, 2014

2014 Lexington Legends Preview: Part Two

An ongoing look at players likely to make up the 2014 roster

FEB 2nd, 2014-Continuing my look at prospective Legends hitters for the 2014 season, I'd like to state the obvious (yet again): there are quite a few promising hitters in the Royals system who are due to come up from the rookie leagues. Yes, I know that rookie-level ball is not the best measure of future potential; it certainly doesn't hurt, however, when you compare numbers with scouting reports, along with other factors (age, player's size/frame, background, etc).

And with that in mind, we soldier on:


Bats: L Throws: L
Ht:6'2” Wt: 225
Born: June 17th, 1994 in Ponce, Puerto Rico
School: Montverde Academy (Kissimmee, Florida)
Drafted: by the Kansas City Royals in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB Draft

Another rather large teenager from the rookie leagues, Rivera has the makings of a power-hitting corner outfielder. His numbers last year at Idaho Falls weren't all that inspiring (8 doubles, 4 HR, 26 RBI in 57 games, .269 BA), but not all rookie-level leagues are created equal. He's powerfully-built, has great bat speed and a sound eye at the plate, skills which should give you a ready-made #3 or 4 hitter at the higher levels. While he draws a fair amount of walks, he has only gone down on strikes 66 times in 388 total pro at-bats; that's what is the most telling stat, to me. He's also managed 18 steals in those 105 games, but he's not going to be swiping a lot of bags as he advances. He simply isn't built for it. Another stat of interest: .333 BA in 45 AB with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Not a big sample size, but something to note nevertheless.

Bats: R Throws: R
Ht: 6'2” Wt: 200
Born: November 9th, 1990 in Sugar Land, Texas
School: University of Texas at San Antonio
Drafted: by the Kansas City Royals in the 9th round of the 2013 MLB Draft

Plus side: .310, 11 HR, 53 RBI in 58 games. Minus side: put up those #s as a 22 year-old in rookie ball. Grain of salt, and all that. Still, Rockett is someone to watch. He's athletic and pretty much gets all he can out of his ability, although I don't see him sticking in CF as he advances up the chain. He covers a fair amount of ground in center, but his ability would play up in left. He's 23 now, and he'll need to move quickly in order to keep from being passed by younger, more highly-regarded (or highly-drafted) players, but I fully expect strong numbers from him in his first year in full-season ball. Considering his age and ability (quick bat, solid glove and range), he could be heading to Wilmington in the Carolina League, leapfrogging Lexington altogether.

Bats: L Throws: R
Ht: 6'4” Wt: 215
Born: January 14th, 1991 in Waynesville, North Carolina
School: Tuscola HS (Waynesville, NC); University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC); Walters State Community College (Morristown, TN)
Drafted: by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft from Tuscola HS (Waynesville, NC), the Washington Nationals in the 14th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from Walters State Community College (Morristown, TN) and the Kansas City Royals in the 8th round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC).

Drafted three different times from 2009 to 2013, Stubbs certainly had his share of suitors. Each time he was drafted, it was earlier on than before (29th round, 14th round, 8th round, respectively), and after his first year in the pros one can understand why. With good size a slight bit of projectability left, as well as developing lefty power and a strong arm for the position, Stubbs might soon find himself bypassing more experienced players already in the Royals system.
In 64 games at Idaho Falls last year, Stubbs batted .284 with 6 homers, 43 RBI, 13 doubles and even 7 triples. Those triples were more a product of power than speed, though he runs the bases well. He did strike out 61 times in 264 AB, so that's something which could work against him as he advances, and at 6'4” it will probably take a little time and work to cut down on those Ks. At 23, he's another player who'll have to move quickly if he's going to keep from being passed on the organizational ladder. Stubbs has the tools to do just that.

Bats: R Throws: R
Ht: 6'1” Wt: 205
Born: June 29th, 1992 in Livingston, NJ
School: St John's University (Queens, NY)
Drafted: by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round of the 2013 MLB Draft

Schwindel is solid at both catcher and first base, but his future (at the moment) appears to be at catcher. His arm rates plus as a first baseman, if he ends up there, and I could definitely see him as a plus defender at the first sack. He had 8 passed balls in 2013 with three errors, which are certainly indications that he needs work behind the dish. However, he threw out 39% of basestealers as well, so that's also a promising sign. Schwindel popped 6 homers and 14 doubles in 64 games at Idaho Falls, batting an even .300. While he only struck out 24 times (260 AB), he drew a pathetic 9 walks. One would think that most batters could draw nine free passes accidentally. Drawing walks is something that I watch closely, so nine doesn't cut it. Schwindel should head to Lexington for 2014, and his work behind the plate will interest me more than his work in the batter's box.

Bats: R Throws: R
Ht: 6'1” Wt: 190
Born: August 11th, 1992 in Frankfort, Germany
School: Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City, UT); University of California-Irvine (Irvine, CA)
Drafted: by the Houston Astros in the 33rd round of the 2011 MLB Draft from Salt Lake CC; by the Kansas City Royals in the 15th round of the 2013 MLB Draft from UC-Irvine

Taylor might just be one of the late-round steals of last year's draft. At age 20, Taylor batted .322 with 8 homers, 37 RBI, 14 doubles, 50 runs scored and 13 steals in 62 games, impressive numbers even taking into account the offensively-inclined Pioneer League. Add to that only 29 strikeouts in 233 AB, and you can see that he had very little trouble adjusting at the plate to pro ball. I see him as an 'under-the-radar' type of player, though he likely won't go unnoticed by the pro and/or advance scouts for very long. Assuming they make a stop in the Sally League, I see Taylor and Zane Evans being Ethan Chapman-type guys for Lexington: great energy, good clubhouse presence, spark plugs in the batting order, always 100% in the field, fan favorites.

More to come, including more hitters on their way up, as well as pitching prospects who could take the mound at The Bank.